Tomorrow’s Tech Entrepreneurs Showcase Work at Stevens Student Expo

Photo: Yo, Money Matters team of Jane Malasig, Jorge Rivera Reyes, Melissa Matos, Sarah Sheikh. Photo Credit: Courtesy Stevens Institute of Technology

Yo, Money Matters team of Jane Malasig, Jorge Rivera Reyes, Melissa Matos, Sarah Sheikh. | Courtesy Stevens Institute of Technology

Every spring, the graduating seniors of Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken present their final design projects during the school’s annual Innovation Expo, which this year happened on April 30, 2014.

Students presented in many fields where Stevens excels, including biodiversity, maritime defense and robotics. NJTechWeekly.com attended the expo, and here are some tech- and entrepreneurial-related projects we spotted, with insight from the students:

TLCengine

Students: Michael Grinthal, Lingyuan He, Christopher Kelly, Kevin Lourenco, David Sobiepan  (all computer science majors)

Faculty Advisor: Professor David Klappholz

Buying a home can be a difficult decision, because a buyer has to weigh so many factors such as sale price and operating expenses, and proximity to work, schools and shopping. The TLC in TLCengine stands for true lifestyle cost, factoring in a buyer’s economic and lifestyle information to figure a person’s actual cost of living in a home.

The idea is to make buyers aware, for example, that the money they save on a house in the suburbs might get burned up in a gasoline tank on long commutes back and forth to work. With this information, buyers can, ideally, make smarter decisions on where they live. The students worked with TLCengine (Piscataway) as part of a Stevens class that matches students with startups.

“I have always been fond of working on projects that can directly assist the everyday person with their lives. The fact that this web service aims to save people money during a very important crossroad of their lives is inspirational.” –David Sobiepan

“I hope to see this project become a full-fledged service that can calculate true lifestyle cost in any given location in the USA. There’s nothing like it on the market today, so once TLC Engine becomes a fully developed, marketable product, there are great expectations for its success.” –Michael Grinthal

Yo, Money Matters

Students: Jane Malasig, Melissa Matos, Jorge Rivera Reyes, Sarah Sheikh (all business & technology majors)

Faculty Advisor: Professor Celia Harquail

Just as they’re entering adulthood, and with it, the workforce, many high school students are graduating and moving away from home with little knowledge about personal finance.

Yo, Money Matters is an online teaching tool that aims to explain bank fees, credit statements, insurance deductibles and other money issues to students so that they’re better prepared to manage their finances. The student designers believe a market for their product exists in schools across the country.

“It can be very difficult to captivate your customers. Teenagers, specifically, often find themselves dividing their time over too many commitments, and adding yet another “assignment” onto their plate may not always be a good idea. In order to keep them motivated, we adjusted our content to appeal to them. We added slang, made eye-catching videos, polished and brightened our illustrations and diagrams, and reduced the amount of text, replacing it with pictures and voice-overs (when possible), while keeping in mind not to sacrifice the delivery of knowledge for the sake of having more interactive content. It was a very delicate balance, and we only found the “sweet spot” through interviews and user reviews.” –Jorge Rivera Reyes

Tour Guide

Students: Phillip Barresi, Ethan Hayon, Jordan Scales, Christopher Serenita (computer science majors) Patrick Dillon (engineering management major)

Faculty Advisors: Professor David Klappholz, Professor Eirik Hole

Tour Guide is a smart phone app that gives users a list of tours they can take in a given city or nearby area, plus information about each stop. The app could work for food and wine tours, for example, and the students have already started with walking tours of the Stevens campus and surrounding Hoboken. Tour managers will also be able to use the app to add information about stops.

“A lot of what we learned was working together as a team. We have been close friends since freshman year, but we have never worked together in the same group. Delegating tasks, checking up on each other, etc., are all things we learned that you don’t really get a sense of in the classroom. Code-wise, we got to play around with a lot of fun technologies and experiment a little. Having so much freedom on a senior design project was great.” –Jordan Scales

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